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RESOURCE LEVELLING

It is scheduling decisions, which are driven by resource management concerns, such as limited resource availability. Resource leveling is the part of the scheduling process in which the start and end dates of tasks are driven by resource limitations, i.e. limited availability of resources or hard to manage resource levels. One of the objectives of project scheduling is to ensure that resources are not over-allocated or over-burdened, and that there are not significant ups and downs in the resource schedule. A resource is over-allocated when scheduled to perform more work than is possible within the resource's schedule. For example, if a resource (human) is assigned to work 8 hours on a project on Monday and then is scheduled to work full time on four tasks on Monday, the resource would need to put in thirty-two hours of work in order to stay on plan. Obviously it is impossible to work 32 hours in one day so the resource is over allocated. Realistic project plans must have accurate resource leveling capabilities. Project management is all about juggling your resources and your projects. Resource levelling allows project managers to balance resources over the course of a project and try to resolve conflicts between resources. It is a way to fix resource over-allocation and is a key component of project management. Typically there are two ways to level resources:

By delaying a task until the assigned resource has time to work on it. By splitting a task so that part of a task is done when planned and the rest of it is done later when the assigned resource has time.

The delay of tasks can be assignment delay or leveling delay. Splitting a task is the process of interrupting the task schedule. In this way, part of the task is done when planned and the rest of it is done later when the assigned resource has time. The methods you choose to reduce over-allocations depend on the limitations of your project, including budget, resource availability, finish date, and the amount of flexibility available for scheduling tasks. In order to avoid extending the duration of the project, and thus on time completion, it is important to avoid extending or delaying tasks that are on the critical path. Therefore, it is important to know the float of tasks before resources are adjusted. If networks are used as the primary planning method there are two approaches to resource leveling or smoothing. Time-limited resource considerations emphasis is placed on completing the project within a specified time, which is typically determined by network analysis. Adjustments in the timing of an activity and the resources allocated at a given time are made within the available float. Activities on the critical path are not adjusted. Resource-limited resource considerations in this approach, projects must be completed with the available resources, even if that means extending the duration of the project. If the total resource demand exceeds the resource availability, at any time, then some of the activities must be delayed until there is sufficient resource availability. In both approaches, information concerning the earliest and the latest start times and float will be used to level resources. 1

COST SCHEDULES When you think of scheduling the work for projects you need to realize that the cost schedule and task schedule of the project are considered together. Not only do you need to complete the project on time, you also need to complete it within budget. It's generally considered bad form if you consume the entire budget before the project is finished. Often a Project Manager is evaluated on his or her ability to complete a project within budget. If you have effectively managed the project resources and project schedule, this should not be a problem. It is, however, a task that requires the project manager's careful attention. You can only manage effectively a limited number of cost items, so focus on the critical ones.

Costs Estimated, actual, variability Contingencies Weather, suppliers, design allowance Profit Cost, contingencies, remainder

Some important points to consider are tackled below: Tasks always have a schedule component. Task schedules are affected by resource availability and by task relationships and dependencies. In most projects there are dependencies between tasks that affect the schedules. For example, when building a house, framing is dependent upon the foundation being completed. Roofing is dependent on framing. Electrical and plumbing are both dependent on framing, but often can take place in parallel. Tasks always have a cost component based on assigned resources. Resource costs can be fixed, variable or recurring. The sum of these is the cost of the task, and the sum of the task costs is the cost of the project. Conversely, funding can also have an effect on scheduling, especially when it delays resource availability or the purchase of a needed asset. Sometimes the funds for a particular project are not all available at the beginning of the project. Tasks cannot be worked if the required resources are not available. Don't confuse costs with pricing. If you or your company manage products for customers, it is likely that you are billing the customer at a rate higher than the actual resource costs. The difference between what you charge the customer and what you pay for the resources is the project's profitability. However, in meetings with customer's the term cost is often used to describe the billing because it is the customer's cost. Scheduling and costs go hand in hand. If a project is slated to last six months and cost $60,000, you are expected to complete the project on time and within the $60,000 Budget. If you use more than $60,000 you will overrun the budget and possibly reduce the profitability of the project. One view is that the project is using $10,000 per month, though in actual practice, project costs are rarely distributed evenly. More often the bulk of the cost is spent at the beginning, middle or end of the project depending on the task relationships and requirements for things like purchased equipment or materials. Your cost schedule should reflect when money will be made available and when it will be spent. 2

Build a preliminary project schedule. You'll need to know when tasks will start and finish when you begin to allocate resources to the tasks. You'll need to adjust the start and finish dates to take into account the resource availability. If you have the resource costs you should record those as well. Then you'll be ready to build the first schedule. Each project task will have a cost, whether it is the cost of the labour hours of a computer programmer or the purchase price of a cubic yard of concrete. In preparing the project budget, each of these costs is estimated and then totalled. Some of these estimates will be more accurate than others. A company knows what it will charge each of its projects for different classifications of labour. Commodities like concrete are priced in a very competitive market so prices are fairly predictable. Other estimates are less accurate. For instance, the cost of a conveyor system with higher performance specifications that normal can be estimated to be more expensive, but it is hard to determine whether it will be 10% more or 15% more. For an expensive item, that can be a significant amount. When the estimated cost of an item is uncertain, the project budget often includes a design allowance. This is money that is set aside in the budget "just in case" the actual cost of the item is wildly different than the estimate. Unusual weather or problems with suppliers are always a possibility on large projects. Companies usually include a contingency amount in the project budget to cover these kinds of things. So a project budget is composed of the estimated cost, plus the contingency and design allowance, plus any profit. The project manager's job is to keep the actual cost at or below the estimated cost, to use as little of the design allowance and contingency as possible, and to maximize the profit the company earns on the project. Cost Process Areas

Cost Estimating is an approximation of the cost of all resources needed to complete activities. Cost budgeting aggregating the estimated costs of resources, work packages and activities to establish a cost baseline. Cost Control - factors that create cost fluctuation and variance can be influenced and controlled using various cost management tools.

Project Management Cost Estimating Tools

Analogous Estimating

Using the cost of similar project to determine the cost of the current project

Determining Resource Cost rates: The cost of goods and labor by unit gathered through estimates or estimation. Bottom Up estimating: Using the lowest level of work package detail and summarizing the cost associated with it. Then rolling it up to a higher level aimed and calculating the entire cost of the project. Parametric Estimating: Measuring the statistical relationship between historical data and other variable or flow. Vendor Bid Analysis: Taking the average of several bids given by vendors for the project. 3

Reserve Analysis: Aggregate the costs of each activity on the network path then add a contingency or reserve to the end result of the analysis by a factor determined by the project manager. Cost of Quality Analysis: Estimating the cost at the highest quality for each activity.

Project managers often use project management software to calculate the cost variances for a project. A commonly used tool for presenting schedule information is the Gantt chart. The Gantt chart is made up of horizontal bars displayed on a grid with tasks down the left hand side and dates across the top. The left end of the bar indicates the start date, the length indicates the duration, and the right end indicates the end date. Some Gantt charts also indicate task dependencies and relationships using arrowed lines to indicate the relationship between any two tasks.

REFERENCES 1. http://www.projectmgt.com/Files/ArticleHowtoMakeReliableProjectScheduleandCostEstimat es.pdf 2. http://www.managingsmallprojects.com/create-a-task-and-cost-schedule.html 3. https://courses.worldcampus.psu.edu/welcome/pmangt/samplecontent/520lesson08/lesson08_ 07.html 4. http://www.brighthub.com/office/project-management/articles/39024.aspx 5. http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/ratportm/v7r1m1/index.jsp?topic=/com.ibm.help.do c/resource_leveling.html 6.